Make them Laugh, Make Them Cry: Part Two

Our old dog, Munch, close to death

Making them cry relies on the reader feeling a deep personal empathy for our characters, which in turn relies on knowing and caring about them ourselves. For me, getting to know my characters is the fun part. I begin by getting to know them, making friends with them, or in the case of the villains finding out what makes them tick. There comes a point when I find them running around in my head most of the time. Even when I’m busy doing other things I know they are there. When I relax they become much more demanding. It’s like catching up with a friend I haven’t seen for ages, talking to them and listening to what they have to say. And it’s not always the sad things that make me cry. Sometimes it’s hearing about, or witnessing an act of great courage, the return of a loved one after a long absence or the birth of a baby against all the odds.

I’m renowned for crying – in movies, while reading books, even songs will make the tears run down my face and my voice refuse to work. Sometimes I am left exhausted by the depth of feeling I have experienced. At other times I feel refreshed and uplifted by stories of ordinary people performing extraordinary acts of bravery or simple, thoughtful acts of kindness.I still cry.  It’s a spontaneous thing.

Just as there is no recipe for making people laugh, there are no rules for what makes us cry.



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